The European Commission is to push ahead with plans for a ‘single European sky’ despite hundreds of flights being disrupted by striking French air traffic controllers in the past two days.

Inefficiencies in the way Europe’s air traffic is managed add 26 miles to the average flight, forcing aircraft to burn more fuel and generate more emissions, the commission claims.

The system causes delays and costs airlines and customers 5 billion euros a year.

It wants to centralise air traffic controls, rather than leave each member state to monitor its own skies. The commission says this could triple airspace capacity, cut costs and reduce delays, the BBC reported.

Transport commissioner Siim Kallas told the European Parliament: “The time has come for more decisive action. If we leave things as they are, we will be confronted with heavy congestion and chaos in our airspace.”